Stories are our most effective tool in moving others to act and think differently in the world. It is how we persuade people to change their heart and mind on an issue, and act differently. There is no method more effective.
1. You can not argue with someones story
When we argue our issue with facts alone, the other side does the same thing. An argument encourages people to argue. A story asks us to participate. We can’t argue with your personal story but we can choose to empathise. With empathy our hearts and minds can change.
2. Move us to act
When deciding whether we want to do something or not we ask ourselves two questions, why and how. People decide the why, often on emotion and then justify the how with logic. The story gives us the why. It emotionally calls us to act and think differently.
3. Teach us how to act
The story of David and Goliath is ancient. It stuck around because it still gives an important lesson on how act in uncertainty; have courage and even the ordinary person can win. Our world is uncertain and stories provide lessons to help us navigate it.
4. People forget
People are forgetful. It takes most people seven times to remember your name. Most people will not remember the numbers you tell them. At the same time we have been telling stories for centuries, before we could even write them down. Good stories stick.
5. Bad stories are stickier.
Bad stories are much more sticky. We may remember them because they evoke more emotion, not because they are more real or true. This has direct consequences on how we treat each other.
6. If we don’t tell our story others tell them for us.
The idea of telling your story may make your stomach fizz like aspirin in Lucozade but I have two points for you,
- Why would anyone give their time to a cause, if they have no idea who you are?
- . If you don’t author your story others will and sometimes they are not very nice.
7. Telling stories is not easy.
Stories should be real, honest and personal. This often means talking about challenges in our life; moments of struggle. If you haven’t shared stories of struggle before it can be hard at first. Our most important actions are often not comfortable.